There has been much talk about the cloud, both good and bad. But for most people the cloud offers the possibility to transform businesses or to scale performance and storage without barriers. Especially with the increasing volume of data, or big data, the possibilities of the cloud seem endless.

What if we can leverage all the data we have within or even outside our own organization? What if we have the structured data from our own ERP or other transactional systems and we combine it with the likes and tweets from social media? Perhaps we can make smarter decisions based on facts and opinions.  Perhaps we can even move from reactive to proactive decision making. However, as my favorite Star Wars character Yoda says in Star Wars Episode II: “Hmmm. The Dark Side clouds everything. Impossible to see, the future is.” So maybe we cannot see the future, but we can certainly try to better predict it, or even try to shape it using the data provided to us in abundance.

Professor Mathieu Weggeman has been studying the topic of knowledge for quite some time now. Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. He even has defined a knowledge formula stating: K = I * ESA or Knowledge = Information * Experience, Skills and Attitude. The information part of the formula is the explicit part or hard data. The ESA is the implicit part or soft data – it’s the gut feeling we have. To combine those two is of course the Holy Grail in Business Information Management.

But it’s not only about harnessing the power of implicit and explicit data, it’s also about working together to achieve this goal. Because this impacts how organizations acquire their data, and how the IT department helps integrate, transform and store this data using techniques like Hadoop, R, or No SQL. It is also about the business department being able to analyze this data and to take actions or create business opportunities. Capgemini’s study on Big Data and Decision Making reports that 85% say the issue is not about volume, but the ability to analyze and act on the data in real time.

And last but not least it’s about having the right partner, coach or guide to help you find your way in the cloud of big data.